Novedge: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your Design Studio.
Amanda Maday: I’m a 30-year-old workaholic/business owner who lives in MN but hates the cold, wife of a die-hard Vikings' fan and new mom of a 5-month old baby boy. I strive for what I call imperfect perfection. Perfection is near impossible but attention to detail and accuracy paired with construction hiccups and challenges can lead to the best Design features of any project. Based in the Arts District of Northeast Minneapolis, Studio Grey provides comprehensive Architectural, Interior and Brand Design services in a collaborative setting. In its third year, the small team of design professionals continue to take on exciting new projects for residential and commercial clients. Our work is Design driven with an emphasis on one-of-a-kind features, pushing limits of the client’s comfort level where suitable. Novedge: What is your background?
Amanda Maday: I graduated with a B.S. in Interior Design from the Art Institute of Minneapolis. My first job was with a commercial design firm that focused on restaurants, retail and office projects. The experience I had there only strengthened my passion for design and increased the desire to start my own company one day. Growing up, my father owned an advertising and typography firm; it was an inspiration knowing he created his own success and had the ambition to run a group of professionals in this competitive field. I’m pretty sure that’s where I get my drive from. He’s a great resource for business related questions.
Novedge: What is a recent project you have worked on ?
Amanda Maday: One of our projects under construction is a new restaurant concept located in St. Paul, MN called Handsome Hog. It’s a bourbon and smoke brand that will provide southern style cuisine focusing on smoky barbeque flavors and a bourbon menu that will satisfy any old-fashioned lover. The restaurant has an elevated refined style with plush fabrics and a copper bar top that contrasts with the building’s existing rustic brick, exposed ceilings and stone pavers. The space is long and narrow but we needed room for a new kitchen, full service bar and open prep kitchen. We came up with the idea to put the full kitchen in the lower level which wasn’t functioning well as a private event space. The 12 seat bar was put in the front entry to create energy right as you walk in the restaurant. The dining room now faces the park across the street with a cool “Park Booth’ in the corner. The Park Booth features a 9’ tall backrest wrapped in a plush green fabric, making what would be an awkward corner to sit at into the best seat in the house!
Studio Grey just finished up a corporate office lobby remodel in Minneapolis. The space was completely gutted, removing the dated finishes and stairwell to make room for the refreshed brand aesthetics. Walnut wood and white marble paired with pops of color and funky textures helped revive this space in to something modern yet timeless. It’s the perfect welcoming to a 100-year-old, 100% employee owned company. Novedge: What are the perks of working for yourself after founding your own firm?
Amanda Maday: The great thing about being a business owner is deciding what you want your business to represent. It’s a true expression of my design philosophies and ideas laid out for the world to see. It’s rewarding to know that every hour (and tear) put in to each project benefits not only my company, but myself as a Designer.
Novedge: What would you tell someone who wants to take the plunge and start working on their own?
Amanda Maday: Starting your own company can be a risky adventure but that’s also what makes it so exciting. Do the due diligence, run the numbers over and over, then at the end of the day you just have to jump in and hope to swim or at least stay afloat.
Novedge: How would you describe your style?
Amanda Maday: My personal style is a mix of eclectic and minimalist elements. I’m not big on anything too over the top or adorned but I like to add my personal touch of the “unexpected” to each project. If something feels just a bit ‘off’, it’s perfect for the design! Novedge: What is the strangest design request you ever got?
Amanda Maday: One of my first jobs with the DIY Network’s show Bath Crashers, the homeowners asked for a salt water fish tank in their bathroom. That was a first and possibly the last fish tank I ever put by a bathtub. It turned out great though but a lot of research had to go in to it.
Novedge: What software do you use?
Amanda Maday: We use Revit, AutoCADand Adobe programs Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator for each project. Revit is used for the ‘pretty pictures’ and helps to show clients the proposed design in a vignette form. AutoCAD is used for the day to day planning and construction documents. The Adobe programs work great for quick renderings, graphic design layouts and concept presentations.
Novedge: What sets you apart form the competition?
Amanda Maday: I love to push the envelope. Some clients appreciate the extra push to make their design something unique and special. Being that we’re a small firm, I’ve noticed we actually get to take the time to come up with a concept and research ideas. To me, that part of the design process is most critical. I strive to give us that time in the beginning to really sell the idea and make it a one-of-a-kind project. Novedge: What is the best design advice you have ever received?
Amanda Maday: The best Design advice I’ve received? “Don’t f***ing procrastinate.” I have a sign in my office that says this!
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